Vinesh Phogat won India’s first medal at the ongoing 2022 Wrestling World Championships in Belgrade on Wednesday after she clinched bronze in the women’s 53kg event.
She became the first Indian female wrestler to win two medals at Worlds.
The Indian, a 2019 Worlds bronze medallist also in 53kg, recorded a dominant 8-0 win over Sweden’s Emma Malmgren in the bronze medal bout after making it through repechage.
Vinesh had earned another shot at a World Wrestling Championships bronze medal as she became active via the repechage round after a disappointing defeat in the first round against Mongolia’s Khulan Batkhuyag 0-7.
Vinesh, fresh from winning her third Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham, was thrown down by her Mongolian opponent in the final seconds of her bout. Batkhuyag went on to win silver.
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Malmgren was the aggressor in the first period but Vinesh took the first points after she reversed Malmgren’s leg attack to get a takedown. However, as the referee broke off the wrestlers, Vinesh vinced as she stretched her right knee. She was on the defensive from here on.
After the break, Vinesh continued to keep Malmgren at an arm’s length but received a verbal warning from the referee for lack of activity. That spurred her to launch a quick leg attack to double her lead. Malmgren, looking to get back into the bout, continued to attack but the wily Vinesh countered to win four more points and put the bout to bed against the 2021 junior world champion and clinch bronze.
She seemed to be limping a bit at the end of the bout before being carried away on the shoulders of her jubilant coach.
Earlier, Nisha Dahiya came close to becoming the second Indian woman to reach a World Wrestling Championships final after she lost 5-4 to Japan’s Ami Ishii in the women’s 68kg semifinal. The Indian gave a strong account of herself against the U20 World Champion from the wrestling powerhouse of Japan.
Nisha came into the semifinal bout on the back of two technical superiority wins and a win on points. She started strongly against Ishii winning two takedown points before the Japanese levelled the scores just before the break.
Nisha took the lead after the break with another takedown but Ishii got a point back with a good reversal. The Japanese then took the lead for the first time with another takedown. Nisha went looking for more points in the final minute but Ishii put up a strong defence leaving the Indian crestfallen when the referee signalled the end of the bout.
The Indian could still end a very good campaign with a bronze medal when she takes on the winner of the repechage round on Thursday.
Mansi Ahlawat’s campaign in the 59kg event ended in the quarterfinal stage as she lost 3-1 to Poland’s Jowita Wrzesien in the final minute of her bout. While 2021 World Championship bronze medallist Sarita Mor bowed out in the round of 16 in the 57kg quarterfinal, Reetika lost in the 72kg qualification bout.
India's senior Worlds medallists
|2021-10-04||Oslo||Anshu, Anshu||Female wrestling||57.0||2.|
|1967-11-12||New Dehli||Singh, Bishamber Ali||Freestyle||57.0||2.|
|2019-09-19||Nur-Sultan||Aware, Rahul Balasaheb||Freestyle||61.0||3.|
|2018-10-22||Budapest||Dhanda, Pooja||Female wrestling||57.0||3.|
|2015-09-10||Las Vegas||Yadav, Narsingh Panchav||Freestyle||74.0||3.|
|2012-09-27||Strathcona County||Babita, Kumari||Female wrestling||51.0||3.|
|2012-09-27||Strathcona County||Geeta||Female wrestling||55.0||3.|
|2009-09-21||Herning||Kumar, Rames 3||Freestyle||74.0||3.|
|2006-09-29||Guangzhou||Tomar, Alka||Female wrestling||59.0||3.|
The bouts from World Championships will be live on uww.org. Medal stats courtesy UWW database.